I was presented with another opportunity to hike with guidebook author Craig Romano and I took him up on the offer. At the time, Craig was researching for the second edition of his Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula guidebook. Craig wanted to hike Copper Creek which I had never done before. I've hiked a lot in this area but never this trail. We started off from the Staircase campground and hiked the Shady Lane Trail to get to the Copper Creek Trail. For being known mostly as a campground trail, there were a lot of big trees on the Shady Lane Trail and I was pleasantly surprised. Since it was cold and the end of November, we didn't see anyone at all on this trail or the Copper Creek Trail for that matter.
When you get to the Copper Creek Trail, it starts going up almost immediately. The trail follows Copper creek very closely until you get closer to the top where it deviates from the creek slightly to attain the ridge where it makes a loop. The trail gains about 2400 feet in a couple miles. The views on the trail are limited, with the exception of a couple peek-a-boos on the ridge loop that look out to the NW and the Wonder Mountain Wilderness and the mountains beyond. The couple views awarded are well worth the trip and the viewpoint makes for a good lunch break which we took advantage of.
After hiking back down from the Copper Creek trail, Craig asked if I wanted to hike out to Four Stream with him. I said sure. It had been years since I'd been out to Four Stream. This was nice because I wasn't ready to be done hiking for the day and we didn't have to drive to another trailhead since we were already here.
To get to Four Stream, you take the Rapids Loop Trail to the suspension bridge that crosses the river, but instead of crossing the bridge, you continue to go straight. The trail narrows and the tread becomes rougher as soon as you leave the Rapids Loop Trail. There are a few flats that you go through and a section that has been undercut by the river, but nothing too difficult to negotiate. At about 1.2 miles or so from the Rapids Bridge junction, you will come to Four Stream. We stopped here but the trail continues on to the other side of the creek if you are willing to ford it. The trail climbs up the mountainside to the park boundary where it disappears altogether. An account of the condition of the upper part of the trail can be found on the Walks with Moss website.
After we turned around and made our way back to the suspension bridge, we crossed over and got on the North Fork Skokomish River Trail. We took advantage of this opportunity to take a couple pictures of the new suspension bridge. The old bridge had been washed out and there had been no way across here for several years. The rest of the hike was non-eventful and we were soon back at the car.